KVAC Wrestling Championships: Hankey, Geiger, Skowhegan come out on top

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TOPSHAM — Malik Geiger likes to be the last man standing in his weight class, but not necessarily on the mat.

“Usually I’m not very dominant on my feet, but occasionally I get a good match or two,” said Geiger, an Oxford Hills junior.

Geiger stayed on his feet for the most part and dominated his 170-pound final with Cony’s Griffin Richards to win his second KVAC championship in as many years Saturday at Mt. Ararat High School.

Fellow Viking Jon Hankey also picked up a title, his first, in the 126-pound class, as Oxford Hills finished fifth overall. Skowhegan made it back-to-back conference titles with a dominating performance, outdistancing runner-up Camden Hills by 65.5 points in a meet that featured teams from 20 Class A and B schools.

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Geiger, who won at 160 pounds last year, took control of his match early and cruised to a 13-5 major decision.

“I knew when I was on my feet I was pretty well off, so I wasn’t too concerned of him getting an escape here and there,” he said. “I pretty much was trying to get a shot off, try and get on top and hold on as long as I can.”

“He had a really good day today,” Oxford Hills coach Tony Stevens said. “He wrestled strong all the time. He works hard. He’s very athletic with very good balance.”

Hankey, a senior, went to the wire with his final opponent, Dylan Dahlbergh of MCI, and held on for the 5-4 win, his first in three tries against him.

“This means a lot,” he said. “I didn’t start wrestling when everybody else did. I started in eighth grade. I’ve made huge improvements since then. I’ve had to go against Khalil (Newbill, the graduated Mt. Blue star) a whole bunch of times and he always won. He’s not here anymore and I won, but (wrestling him) definitely helped me improve.”

“He’s improved every single year and this year he’s wrestled real tough,” Stevens said. “He had a pretty good year last year. This year, he’s a captain as a senior. He came in pretty confident so he’s done pretty well the whole year.”

In addition to Geiger and Hankey’s championship round wins, the Vikings got a consolation final victory from Cordell Brooks (120) and a fourth-place finish from Taylor Alleano (113).

“We wanted to get as many kids to place as we can and, of course, if they had a head-to-head matchup with a regional opponent, win those matches to set up next week,” Stevens said. “I was very happy with how the kids wrestled today.”

Edward Little’s Sheldon Bang reached the 132 final before being edged out by Skowhegan’s Luke Bolster, 7-5. Younger brother Skyler Bang scored a 17-5 victory over Mount View’s Anthony Barnard in the 145 consolation final.

Nick Hickey of Mt. Blue reached the 160 final, where he was pinned by Skowhegan’s Logan Stevens at 4:24. JT Williams won his 220 consolation final over Job Mesaric of Mount View, 7-3

Six of eight Skowhegan wrestlers in the championship round had their arms raised, including Class A Wrestler of the Year Kaleb Brown (152). The Indians will be heavily favored to defend their Eastern A title next week on the same floor, but no one told them to hold anything back this week.

“They’ll have to adjust to our game. We put eight kids in the finals. We only dropped two of them and one was to the defending New England champ (Peter Del Gallo of Cony) who won’t be there next weekend (because Gardiner is in Class B),” said Skowhegan co-coach Tenney Noyes, who shared Class A Coach of the Year honors with partner Brooks Thompson. “We’re sitting pretty. We don’t adjust to other people. We wrestle our matches.

Skowhegan’s Tyler Craig won the 120-pound title, his third. He won the first while wrestling for Mt. Blue in 2012.

Aaron Lint of Winslow won his second 285 crown and was named Class B Wrestler of the Year. Mt. View’s Hamilton Richards was voted Class B Coach of the Year.

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